Monday, 4 April 2011

Making Compost Tea

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

Gardening season is just getting underway here in the form of starting transplants in the hoop house. Once the seedlings get their true leaves I like to water them with a weak solution of compost tea, at least once a week or more often if they need a boost. I also like to have compost tea on hand for transplanting to help the plants get over the shock of handling. Compost tea a great make-at-home fertilizer.

Covered compost pile.

We compost our livestock manure, so that is what we use, but any compost will work fine.
Supplies you will need:

Container - anything from a 5 gallon bucket to a 55 gallon drum.
Tea bag - recycled mesh onion bag works great.
Stick or dowel for dunking.

I'm making about 30 gallons of tea, so I am filling my onion bag about three fourths of the way with aged compost. The more compost you add the stronger your tea will be. It can be diluted or applied directly as long as you use aged manure or compost.

Using the tie on the onion bag slip the stick through.

Place tea bag in container of water. I used spring water - rain water would be great and if you have municipal water, fill your container and wait a day or so to let the chlorine dissipate before making your tea.

I leave my tea bag on the stick so I can dunk it if needed, or take it out when I need to use the tea. It's no fun fishing around in a murky barrel for the top of the bag.

The initial dunking produced a fairly dark concoction. I will let this sit about a week before using to make sure it is full strength.

It's best to keep the container covered, to keep out rain.

Warmer gardening weather can't come soon enough for me. Our weather is vacillating between snow, sun, rain and hail these days. How is your gardening season starting out?


Peggy said...

Do you use fresh or composted manure for tea? We've had a 90° day and a 40° day in the last month. My gardening weather is...bipolar.

Kristy said...

We 'accidentally' make tea at least every second day, using recycled water, for whatever area in the garden.

I do like your idea though, and might have to put it on the 'list' of things to do 'one time' :)

Michelle J said...

Awesome! I've got crazy-huge amounts of bunny poop that needs dealing with. I think that I'll be making some tea!

Our weather is sun/wind/rain, repeat. The sun breaks are lovely, but it's still awfully chilly out. I'm trying to harden off some of my starts during the day, but with the weather changing minute to minute, I'm shuffling them in and out constantly, for fear that they'll get nailed by hail or a chilling wind. But that's spring in Washington for ya! ;)

Robert said...

I use diluted pee. I've got loads of seedlings coming, the bees are flourishing, and I'm wondering how many of my more precious young plants have made it through the winter in deep-frozen pots. Some are up, at least.

Homemade Alaska said...

Thanks so much for this post, we have rabbits and bunnies, and I have just been throwing it into a pile. I'm motivated to make more use of it now!

Sadge said...

I'm pretty sure that's a dog's head in the last photo, but it looks like a skunk!

skybluepinkish said...

Was I the only one who did a double take at the title?

We have masses of compost thanks to the poultry but I've never made "tea" with it. I'll give that a go, we have plenty of rainwater. I do make a similar liquid with our comfrey which brings up the garden a treat. It can smell a bit vile but since everyone round here has been muck spreading the air is thick with poo anyway!